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Deadly Drugs? Protecting Kids from Medicine Poisoning

One tip from experts to help avoid accidental poisoning: Prescription medications should stay in their original containers. (krosseel/Morguefile)
One tip from experts to help avoid accidental poisoning: Prescription medications should stay in their original containers. (krosseel/Morguefile)
March 21, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa – Medications are intended to keep families healthy, but if used improperly, they can lead to life threatening situations.

It is National Poison Prevention Week, and a new report from Safe Kids Worldwide says each year, more than 59,000 children are taken to an emergency room after getting into medicine.

The group's president and CEO, Kate Carr, says that's one child every 9 minutes, and sometimes the visit involves the ingestion of other health-related products.

"Vitamins or diaper rash cream – there are a lot of products that are around and, if a child can get into them, they can in some cases be quite serious, requiring a hospital room visit or, in some cases, leading to a fatality," she points out.

According to the report, nearly half the time a child got into a medication, it belonged to a grandparent. So, Carr advises anyone with children around to be diligent about keeping medicines out of sight and out of reach of little ones.

Because of their curious nature, Carr says 1 and 2-year-olds are at highest risk for medicine poisoning. And she says they're sometimes finding it in unexpected places.

"Not uncommon that they're finding things on tables, on nightstands, on furniture – in a purse that's left on the floor, or it could be a kitchen counter,” she states. “Kids find ways of getting into things. "

Carr adds that medication should always be given as directed and kept in its original container.

If a poisoning of any kind is suspected, specially trained professionals are available at the Iowa Poison Control Center.

The number to call is 1-800-222-1222, from anywhere in the state.



Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA